Oakland Raiders: Howie Long, "Greatest Logo in Sports"

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Dec 6, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders pro football enshrinees light the late owner Al Davis (not pictured) eternal flame torch before the game against the Denver Broncos at O.co Coliseum. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 26-13. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


When Al Davis passed away on October 8, 2011, Howie Long made one of the best statements about Davis on public television in front of millions.  He stated, “Back in 1980 as a Senior at Villanova (University), I missed a couple of games because of, let’s say an off-campus misunderstanding.  Well for some teams, I’m sure that might have been a red flag, but for the Raiders and Al Davis, let’s just say it was less of a concern.  Going from Villanova where there was a priest on every floor, to the Raiders locker room, was needless to say a culture shock.  The one thing that became very apparent immediately was that the Raiders mindset and mystique of that football team was defined by one man, Al Davis.  He was omnipresent, and being a Raider was all about one thing, winning.  It was something Al Davis was consumed by 24-7, and as a player you knew there wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do to put you in the best possible position to succeed.  You are now part of a team, an organization, that was an island onto itself.”

“Putting on that helmet meant something to generations of players, and if you weren’t part of it, you were the enemy.  In many ways, it was the Ellis Island of the NFL.  Players from schools like Texas A&I, Colgate, and Maryland Eastern Shore, or players that had been written off as done, and yes, some players with checkered pasts, but regardless of where you were from or what had happened in your past, once you put on that helmet you were a Raider.  There was only one thing expected of you, and that was to play and play to win.  There are many from this generation who would judge Al Davis by the last 10-plus years, and by his many legal battles with the league.”

“What I would want todays generation to know, that yesterday the NFL lost a titan.  A man, who more than any other, helped shape the league and game that you see played today.  He was an AFL maverick, forcing the NFL/AFL merger as commissioner.  Successful owner and coach with the Raiders, winning three Super Bowl titles and an AFL Championship.  He was also a pioneer, hiring the leagues first modern era African-American Head Coach in Art Shell, and, also, the leagues first Latino-American Head Coach in Tom Flores.  Yesterday, Al Davis lost the battle with the one thing he knew he could never win, the battle with time.  There’s never been anyone like him, and I’m confident in saying there will never be anyone like him in the future.”


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Tags: AFL Al Davis Art Shell Chris Long Howie Long NFL Oakland Raiders Tom Flores Villanova University

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